Horace Mann Issues Apology for Decades of Abuse by Teachers

Horace Mann School, an elite prep school in New York City, issued an apology for decades of abuse of students by teachers and administrators, without agreeing to the independent investigation sought by victims.

Mediators will prepare an independent summary of the reported sexual abuses, without naming the 31 alumni who described encounters with former teachers and administrators that happened between 1962 and 1996, according to a letter today on the school’s website.

“We sincerely apologize for the harm that was caused by the teachers and administrators who abused anyone during their years at Horace Mann School,” Thomas Kelly, the head of school, and Steven Friedman, chairman of the board of trustees, wrote in the letter. “These unconscionable betrayals of trust never should have happened. But they did, and now we, as a school, must fully accept this reality.”

Last month, the Bronx district attorney said the alleged sexual abuse of students at Horace Mann, in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, took place too long ago to be prosecuted.

The board of trustees and Kelly agreed to mediation, and settlements have been reached with the majority of the 31 individuals who came forward without resort to litigation, according to the letter. The school does not have the authority to compel those identified as abusers who are still living to respond to the allegations, according to the letter.

Attorney Gloria Allred, who says she represents 22 men and three women who said they were victims of crimes including anal and vaginal rape by more than a dozen teachers and administrators, last month asked for an “independent and transparent” probe.

The scandal was disclosed in a June 2012 New York Times Magazine article written by a former Horace Mann student.

To contact the reporter on this story: Janet Lorin in New York jlorin@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lisa Wolfson at lwolfson@bloomberg.net.

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